Short Protein Evolution Stories: Illuminating Aspects of MempromCC and Histidine Kinase Evolution

DSpace Repository


Dokumentart: Dissertation
Date: 2018-11-22
Source: eLife 2016;5:e11861
Language: English
Faculty: 7 Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Department: Biologie
Advisor: Forchhammer, Karl (Prof. Dr.)
Day of Oral Examination: 2018-11-08
DDC Classifikation: 500 - Natural sciences and mathematics
Keywords: Biologie , Evolution , Proteine , Coiled coil , Escherichia coli
Other Keywords:
protein evolution
histidine kinase
coiled coils
CA domain
artificial protein
de novo evolution
TCST systems
E. coli
DX protein
protein purification
functional analysis
novel enzyme
License: Publishing license including print on demand
Order a printed copy: Print-on-Demand
Show full item record


Sequence-based bioinformatic analysis has long been a driving force of evolutionary studies, while experimental approaches offer new insights through mutagenesis, in vivo and in vitro evolution. Here, we employ both approaches to illuminate aspects of the evolution of two different protein families, the mempromCC protein family and the histidine kinase protein family. The mempromCC family comprises membrane-bound coiled-coil-containing proteins found mostly in mitochondria. Our bioinformatic analysis connects for the first time these proteins allowing their collective structural and functional analysis. While the mechanism of function remains elusive, these proteins have been shown to act as assembling factors of different proteins like the mitochondrial Ca2+ uniporter (MCU), cytochrome c and Photosystem I that are crucial for cell survival. Histidine kinase proteins typically function as multidomain proteins, comprising transmembrane sensor and cytoplasmic effector domains. In the osmoregulating histidine kinase EnvZ, signals are transmitted through the DHp (dimerization and histidine phosphotransfer) and the CA (catalytic and ATPbinding) domains: CA carries ATP and phosphorylates a histidine in DHp, which then transfers the phosphate group to downstream effectors, resulting in a modulated transcription of genes controlled by the ompC promoter. Based on the evolutionary traits observed for both DHp and CA an evolutionary scenario has emerged, in which the two domains were fused early in evolution building a histidine kinase from a simple ATP-binding element. To study this possibility, we produced a chimera, in which CA was replaced with DX, an artificial protein that was generated through in-vivo evolution by selecting for ATP binding affinity. Indeed, a DHp-DX fusion protein (DHp-DX1) showed a strong ATPase activity in vitro, that was not seen for DX alone. In vivo, DHp-DX1 increased the transcription of ompC-controlled genes compared to a phosphotransferasedeficient DHp-DX1(H15Q) mutant. Collectively, these findings support the modular evolution of the DHp-CA element and offer a proof of concept for primordial enzyme evolution.

This item appears in the following Collection(s)